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History of NBA Offensive/Defensive Schemes and their Adjustments


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#1 bfc1125roy

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Posted October 20, 2018 - 05:40 PM

In 2010 ish, the best offenses would run some sort of inside outside action. The triangle set us for a great two man game with Kobe and Pau. The Magic ran the "4 out 1 in" where Howard would take it inside and kick to many shooters. The Cavs would repeatedly PnR LeBron and drive/kick to shooters, rinse and repeat. 
 
Watch here how nobody wants to help Dwight's man in the post here. This is because the Magic are stacked with shooters and spaced in the 4 out 1 in offense. Dwight gets an easy 2 points because of it:
 
15400784431150235.gif?1540078451
 
From there, the dominant defensive schemes adjusted, and focused on ICE-ing the PnR, which helped contain that inside outside action and most importantly prevent middle penetration. It's what the Celtics ran so well that made the 2 man game between Kobe and Pau difficult for us in the finals. It's also what propelled Tom Thibodeau to fame. If you check your NBA 2k settings, this is still an option for how you want the AI to defend the PnR.
 
Example of ICE-ing the PnR:
 
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After this, numerous adjustments were made. The step up screen was implemented to thwart ICE-defenses effectively. Teams also employed much more off ball and weakside screening to occupy help defenses and make them pay for clogging the paint (like the old Boston teams did), or playing passing lanes aggressively (2012-2014 Heat). The Spurs started it with their motion strong and weak offense that we all saw in the 2014 finals, and Kerr took it one step further with his time in Golden State. Brad Stevens also copied a lot of the ideas from both these teams and implemented the deadly Celtics offense you see today.
 
Step up screen beating ICE: 
 
15400790911150258.gif?1540079110
 
Spurs motion offense:
 
15400792132097681.gif?1540079220
 
Celtics twist on this:
 
15400793231646821.gif?1540079342
 
What the Celtics are doing takes me into the next segment. Around 2014-2015, teams began to realize the easiest thing to beat all these various types of PnR actions and off ball screening is to switch. We all know what this is so I won't post examples of it, but the Warriors and Celtics had lineups designed to switch nearly every screen. Without the players needing to decide on the fly what to do, and just knowing to switch nearly everything, it stalled a lot of offenses today.
 
In the Celtics gif there, you can see they actually know the Sixers are going to switch. So they run the curl to throw them off and get that back door cut, while Baynes pulls Embiid away from the rim early. That is a well-coached team. Simple, yet effective.
 
In a well-spaced offense, the best option to counter switching is to go back to the old days and simply isolate. Even if a team defense can beat a superstar, defending him 1 on 1 is a difficult task. The Cavs used this to beat the Warriors with James and Irving in the 2016 finals. D'Antoni, who funnily enough invented the 21 series that most modern motion offenses build upon, reverted back to isolation with the Rockets. He would simply pick the weakest defender on the team, have his man screen for Harden, get the switch, and let Harden go to work on a well-spaced half court. Boring to watch, but a very potent option to defend switch heavy defenses. In fact, this idea was nearly the demise of the Warriors, if not for some intelligent coaching on the defensive side, which I will get to in a minute.
 
Watch here how the Rockets purposely screen for Harden with Curry's man, then let Harden isolate on the switch. No movement in this offense, but beats what the Warriors are doing defensively, since Harden will score on Curry 1 on 1, more often than not. He's just that good.
 
556dd007-0b60-4b13-83ec-883ad80bbb89.gif
 
In order to beat this, both Kerr and Stevens around the same time have implemented scram switching. Where they will "bump off" the weaker defender the offense is trying to target for an isolation. This works especially well if the spacing is a little poor. This idea saved the Warriors in the WCF, and the Celtics used it to great success as well last year. We have yet to see how offenses will counter this, but we will find out this season.
 
Celtics using a scram switch. Watch how Baynes executes a perfect bump off and prevents the mismatch in the post:
 
2d2fdc1d-80c5-44e4-9817-08ae003085b1.gif
 
If you look comparatively at what the Lakers are doing, our offense is outdated and not even as good as what teams were running 4 seasons ago. As much chemistry as we hope to develop, we need to have an equivalent amount of sophistication in the offense for our season to be successful.

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#2 MambaMentality

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Posted October 20, 2018 - 06:33 PM

two great posts! looking forward to you breaking down what you call some of the more simple-minded offensive sets the lakers are running this season.

 

would also be great to get a breakdown of how all this offense develops when the pace of play is ridiculously fast, as we are attempting to do. my speculation is that our half court offense sucks so we're just trying to outrun teams.

 

keep it up with the great content!



#3 BasketballIQ

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Posted October 20, 2018 - 06:35 PM

Cranjis?

#4 bfc1125roy

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Posted October 20, 2018 - 10:27 PM

Cranjis?

 

Lol no. His analysis relies far too much on garbage advanced stats.



#5 Massacre

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Posted October 21, 2018 - 02:56 AM

Cranjis doesn’t use “garbage” advanced stats...quite the opposite, but he does over-rely on them. Player evaluation should go beyond box scores.

#6 bfc1125roy

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Posted October 21, 2018 - 09:56 PM

Cranjis doesn’t use “garbage” advanced stats...quite the opposite, but he does over-rely on them. Player evaluation should go beyond box scores.

 

He acts like he can explain everything that happens in terms of PIPM (player impact plus minus) and even creates "end all be all" rankings based on that stat. But if you look at how it was created and what it encompasses, it is garbage beyond the small, narrow context that it captures. 


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#7 DanishLakerFan

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Posted October 25, 2018 - 10:55 PM

He acts like he can explain everything that happens in terms of PIPM (player impact plus minus) and even creates "end all be all" rankings based on that stat. But if you look at how it was created and what it encompasses, it is garbage beyond the small, narrow context that it captures. 

 

Wouldn't exactly call it garbage, but it does remind me of how Hollinger used (or promoted) PER in every single aspect of the game.



#8 bfc1125roy

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Posted October 25, 2018 - 11:34 PM

Wouldn't exactly call it garbage, but it does remind me of how Hollinger used (or promoted) PER in every single aspect of the game.

 

If I remember correctly when I had analyzed it a few months ago, it's based on a regression of sorts run on top of RPM (and RAPM - its sister metric), which is a garbage stat unless you view it in the narrow context it's defined in. I work in a very stats heavy field, so I'm well versed in modeling and authoritative-enough a figure to tell you the way this stuff is used is crap most of the time. Key being what I underlined.

 

Stats are just numbers, there's no "right" or "wrong" there. But Cranjis tries to use PIPM to rank the best players in the NBA, offensively and defensively. I've read all his detailed material breaking it down. The analysis isn't worth the paper its printed on (figuratively), trust me.

 

Happy to go into more detail (I believe I already did in a previous post during the summer, but might be wrong). 






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